The Annotated Three Pines: Kingdom of the Blind

The Annotated Three Pines: Kingdom of the Blind

Kingdom of the Blind

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From (acknowledgements)
Whale oil beef hooked

Louise’s Thoughts:
Haha! I wonder how many of you recognized this quote from an earlier book (Book 2 in the series, when we first meet Billy Williams), and can de-code what it/he is trying to say. My editor, Hope Dellon to whom the book is dedicated, especially liked this moment between Gamache and Billy, and that’s why I use it. It’s also a running joke between us…sending each other deeply inappropriate cards etc with the ‘f’ word. Poor Armand has struggled the entire series to understand the back-woods man, though no one else seems to have difficulty. A trick is to say this phrase quickly out loud. But perhaps not in polite company.


From Pg. 4
Gamache looked again at the once-strong house and smiled. Feeling a kinship toward it. Things sometimes fell apart unexpectedly. It was not necessarily a reflection of how much they were valued.

Louise’s Thoughts:
Armand is still suspended from the Surete. An organization he helped save. And rebuild. But he’s also a realist and understands the difference between taking things personally, and politics. Between the way the world is, and the way it should be. His career has, to all appearances, fallen apart. But that doesn’t diminish his loyalty to the Surete, or the rank-and-file loyalty to him.


From Pg. 12
Gamache noticed that Myrna’s attitude had changed slightly. No longer fearful, she looked at their host with what appeared to be pity. There were some creatures who naturally evoked that reaction. Not given armor, or a poison bite, or the ability to fly or even run, what they had was equally powerful. The ability to look so helpless, so pathetic, that they could not possibly be a threat. Some even adopted them. Protected them. Nurtured them. Took them in.

Louise’s Thoughts:
This quote ends with the words, And almost always regretted it.. There’s a saying that I believe Gamache (or was it Myrna) quotes in an earlier book. The tyranny of the weak. It’s an uncomfortable issue to explore. The use of guilt, of manipulation, of victimhood by some, to get what they want. What makes this so uncomfortable is knowing that many people do legitimately need help. A kind and supportive ear. A hand up. In fact, we all do at times. I certainly had a low point, and people reached down and saved me. But I was anxious to get on my feet. As are most people. But a select few are not. They’ve made manipulation an art. So that even sophisticated people like Myrna fall prey. As she’s in danger of doing here.


From Pg. 58
“‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad. / They may not mean to, but they do,’ ” Ruth quoted. “I know that poem,” said Benedict, and all eyes swung to him. “But that’s not the way it goes.” “Oh really?” said Ruth. “And you’re a poetry expert?” “No, not really. But I know that one,” he said. If not oblivious to sarcasm, at least impervious to it. A useful trait, thought Armand. “How do you think it goes?” asked Reine-Marie. “‘They tuck you up, your mum and dad,’ ” said the young man, reeling it off easily. “‘They read you Peter Rabbit, too.’”

Louise’s Thoughts:
I wish I could say I made up Benedict’s alternative This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin, but I actually heard it from Robert Bathurst, who voices the audio tapes. We were having lunch in London and comparing favourite poems. I said how much I liked This Be The Verse, and he reeled off the ‘flip side’, written by Adrian Mitchell. I tucked it away, and a year or so later realized this would be a good time to use it. Not only is is hilarious, it illustrates a theme through the books. One of choice. Of what we hear and what we choose to believe. And, of course, it was fun having the ‘poetry-off’ between wizened embittered Ruth and milk fed Benedict – who seemed too good to be true.


From Pg. 166
Entitlement was, she knew, a terrible thing. It chained the person to their victimhood. It gobbled up all the air around it. Until the person lived in a vacuum, where nothing good could flourish.

Louise’s Thoughts:
Entitlement, it seems to me, is the opposite of gratitude. It blinds and deafens, and feeds into what we discussed earlier. That sense of victimhood and unfairness. To seeing only what is missing and not what is there. What has been denied and not what has been given. It leads to resentments, which eat a person from the inside out. As you can see, I am no great fan of entitlement. Though I make a distinction between entitlement (which implies a sort of manifest destiny) and having earned something. Worked for it. And are therefore entitled to it. Might sound like a fine distinction, but in my view a crucial one.


54 replies on “The Annotated Three Pines: Kingdom of the Blind”

Now it is 2021 and I can hardly wait until August 23rd for your next book. I hope this is a continued August ritual for you. What a treat for me to read these books.

Ms. Penny, some of these books are like therapy, or therapy-helper. About the “whale oil” Shakespeare has lots of similar puns in his plays, but you have to know how people pronounced English back then to get the puns!

Also, sorry about this but did finish reading “Kingdom of the Blind” about two days ago and again, this was a terrific book. I’m inspired by Armande Gamache and his concern for people even when they can be terrifying. I enjoyed every aspect of this book and the narration as well as the setting of Three Pines. I want to go there and enjoy the Bistro and all the people who go there!!!

I’m in the beginning of “A Better Man” and I am truly loving this book, the characters and Three Pines. I’ve read “almost” all of the Gamache series and I don’t know what I’m going to do when this book is over…!!! I feel like I know the people, the town and the village. Hoping there is a next one!!!

I am sure all inhabitants of Fogo Island , Nfld will know how to properly pronounce this phrase .I just finished the Blind and now
my copy of Better Man can hardly wait to return to Three Pines
I have been “hooked”for years (both interpretations. ).

I’m sofa king we Todd Ed…I can’t believe I missed both “Norfold and chance” and “Whale Oil beef hooked” I will listen more carefully and read more carefully in the future. Hilarious!!!

If you are lucky enough to have “Newfie” relatives, you will probably understand Billy. I love Whale Oil Beef Hooked!

I too missed whale oil beef hooked. Love it. I started reading your books a few months ago when a friend recommended them. I started with A Still Life and didn’t stop till I finished Kingdom of the Blind! Can’t wait for A Better Man. I’m already thinking about starting back at A Still Life to see what I missed the first time through.

Can’t wait to see you( with a friend) in San Diego…on my 80th birthday. My birthday present from me to me. Thanks for your insightful and thought provoking books.

I am behind a few novels; the last I read was “The Nature of the Beast.” I love them all, of course, but something that REALLY upsets me is why agent Yvette Nicole continues to get dumped on. Am I missing something? She has saved Armand’s life at least twice. She has been a go-to IT person. When does she get an award? A promotion? Some recognition for we, the loyal readers? Please, if I am missing some goodness in the future, tell me anyway! Thank you!!

Reading these comments are great eye openers! Too funny! I have been a huge fan for some time now! Keep up the great work Louise!

A better man tomorrow – Ill be by my post box. I LOVE your books.
I really liked the flip of Philip Larkins poem – opened new doors for me. Im still asking for help decoding the map of the Three Pines Village – who lives where????????

“Whale oil…”. I got it immediately, the first time I read it in the book.
Hmmm…What does that say about me, Myrna?!?

Whale oil beef hooked! I finally got “whale oil beef hooked”! Saying it quickly was certainly the key!!! LOL!! I plan to use it – if only I say it to myself – especially when I am having a very F.I.N.E. day!
So looking forward to next week!!!!

I listen to LP’s books on audio and Robert Bathurst did a good job reading that line so I understood it. Had to read the words out loud to myself today to “get it”, and it surely is funny. I love it when Billy appears on the scene. So loved when he appeared toward the of “How the Light Gets In.”

I did not get it and tried and tried. My husband came in and I told him to say the words really fast. He thought I was nuts but he did it and when I heard someone ELSE say it, I got it. HA! Good one. Can’t wait to see you in DC, Louise! ⭐️

Well, this is on another subject from the above remarks,but…I was rereading Kingdom in preparation for A Better Man, and I came to the coque au vin dinner and had an epiphany. These books are wonderful and the plots well constructed, but it’s the PEOPLE who hook you in. That was such a nice scene, just friends enjoying each other’s company over dinner. It really touched my heart. Thank you so much Louise for such a rich reading experience. No wonder we all want to move to Three Pines!

I love that scene! All the different conversations going on at once, but when Jean-Guys states he is talking about art, in unison the others all say “YOU?” LOL! It is the interactions between the characters that make these books what they are.

All right , I can’t help myself . Not to belittle Robert Bathurst or our favorite author, but
I first heard WIBH about 55 or 60 years ago . It was called an easy way to speak Irish and
it must be true because the man who told it to me was in fact Irish . True story and I’m
still laughing all these years later .

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